Carex prasina Wahlenb.

drooping sedge

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Drooping sedge occurs deciduous and mixed evergreen forests, especially along streams or in damp areas. Experimental work showed that drooping sedge was less robust when grown on the low-organic matter soils on which it is most abundant, and appeared to prefer higher-organic matter soils, on which it was not found in the wild. This indicates that factors such as competition, dispersal limitation, or other factors may be more important than soil type in determining species distributions.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forests, shores of rivers or lakes, swamps

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
stem leaf blade width
2–5 mm
Lowest bract sheath
the lowest bract has no sheath (or a very short sheath up to four millimeters in length)
Spike on stalk
the lowest spike on the plant has a peduncle
Top spike
  • the uppermost spike contains both staminate and carpellate flowers, with the staminate flowers located below the carpellate flowers
  • the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
Perigynium hairs
the perigynium has no hairs
Perigynium length
2.5–4 mm
Leaf sheath color
  • the leaf sheath has no pink, red or purple tinting
  • the leaf sheath is tinted pink, red or purple
Leaf blade texture
the leaf blade is smooth and hairless, or rough and sandpapery
Perigynium beak teeth
the perigynium beak is divided at the top into two teeth
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bumps on fruit
    there are no papillae on the perigynium surface
    Distance between perigynia
    1–3.5 mm
    Length of scale
    the scale is shorter than the perigynium
    Lowest spike length
    15–60 mm
    Lowest spike stalk length
    Up to 40 mm
    Lowest spike width
    3.5–5.5 mm
    Perigynium beak
    the perigynium has a beak
    Perigynium beak length
    1–1.5 mm
    Perigynium beak orientation
    the beak of the perigynium is curved, or angled out from the perigynium
    Perigynium beak serrations
    the perigynium beak has no serrations
    Perigynium beak teeth
    the perigynium beak is divided at the top into two teeth
    Perigynium color
    • green
    • yellow
    Perigynium cross-section
    the perigynium is trigonous (triangular) in cross-section
    Perigynium hairs
    the perigynium has no hairs
    Perigynium length
    2.5–4 mm
    Perigynium nerve number
    At least 2
    Perigynium nerve texture
    NA
    Perigynium nerves lower side
    At least 1
    Perigynium nerves upper side
    At least 1
    Perigynium orientation
    the perigynia are oriented vertically or pressed against the axis or adjacent perigynia
    Perigynium puffy
    the perigynium is inflated (there is space between the perigynium and the achene)
    Perigynium shape
    • the perigynium body is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the perigynium body is ovate (egg-shaped)
    Perigynium width
    1–1.5 mm
    Perigynium winged
    the perigynium has no wings
    Pollen- and seed-producing spikes
    some of the spikes produce perigynia
    Pollen-producing spike length
    25–40 mm
    Pollen-producing spike number
    0–1
    Pollen-producing spike peduncle length
    0–10 mm
    Pollen-producing spike width
    2.5–4 mm
    Scale awn
    • The carpellate scale does not have an awn (it may have a short point)
    • the carpellate scale has an awn on it
    Scale awn texture
    the carpellate scale awn has tiny teeth
    Scale color
    • green
    • white or translucent
    Scale tip
    the carpellate scale tip is acute (has a sharp point)
    Spike on stalk
    the lowest spike on the plant has a peduncle
    Spike orientation
    the spikes are bent downwards or droop downwards
    Spikes per stem
    2-15
    Stigma branching
    the stigmas have three branches
    Top spike
    • the uppermost spike contains both staminate and carpellate flowers, with the staminate flowers located below the carpellate flowers
    • the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene dimples
    the achene has no folds or dimples
    Achene length
    1.3–2 mm
    Achene width
    1–1.2 mm
    Style persistence
    the style falls off the mature achenes
  • Growth form
    Rhizomes
    there are no rhizomes, or the rhizomes are very short
  • Leaves
    Leaf arrangement
    the leaves are mostly produced higher up on the plant
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is flat or M-shaped, with two prominent side-veins
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is smooth and hairless, or rough and sandpapery
    Leaf bumps
    the upper surface of the leaf blade does not have papillae
    Leaf sheath bumps
    there are no papillae at the top edge of the leaf sheath
    Leaf sheath color
    • the leaf sheath has no pink, red or purple tinting
    • the leaf sheath is tinted pink, red or purple
    Leaf sheath dots
    there are no dots on the leaf sheathes
    Leaf sheath folds
    there are no corrugations on the leaf sheath
    Leaf sheath texture
    the leaf sheath feels smooth, and has no hairs
    Lowest bract sheath
    the lowest bract has no sheath (or a very short sheath up to four millimeters in length)
    Lowest leaf blade width
    2–5 mm
    Lowest leaf sheath texture
    the leaf sheath feels smooth (it may have soft hairs)
    stem leaf blade width
    2–5 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • shores of rivers or lakes
    • swamps
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    30–80 cm
    Relative stem height
    the main stem is taller than the leaves
    Stem cross-section
    the main stem is roughly triangular in cross-section
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
fairly widespread (S-rank: S4)
New Hampshire
uncommon (S-rank: S3), W (code: W)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Carex davisii:
perigynia with 2 prominent ribs and 9-12 veins, becoming dull orange-brown at maturity, 4.5-6 mm long (vs. C. prasina, with perigynia with 2 prominent ribs but otherwise nerveless, green to gold-green at maturity, 2.5-4 mm long).

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Carex

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

93.  Carex prasina Wahlenb. N

drooping sedge. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Deciduous and mixed evergreen-deciduous forests, usually along streams and in other damp or wet places, including seeps and ditches.